First Book: Ultimately Forgettable.
My reaction to the first Twilight book was honestly and seriously “meh.”
It wasn’t a TERRIBLE book. It was fairly readable, if a little bit boring in some parts. I wasn’t deeply offended by the sparkly vampires or the gratuitous purple prose. It was simply a book that I read. I then put it on my shelf and promptly forgot about it. At the height of the Twilight Craze, my friends tried to get me to read the other books, but I just couldn’t work up the interest. Twilight was just…okay. It wasn’t extremely compelling. I really had no desire to continue the story.
What makes Twilight so polarizing is not the book itself, but the fandom. The book is piercingly ordinary. It had a few sweet moments. Edward, as a character, seemed rather cold and thus somewhat unlikable. I didn’t feel the pulsating attraction to him that Bella felt. However, I didn’t hate him. I didn’t even find his behavior strange. He’s a vampire, right? He’s supposed to be creepy and off putting. And Bella’s supposed to fall for him like a ton of bricks – it’s how he attracts his prey. The last part of the book where James (that’s his name, right?) was chasing them was probably the most thrilling. If Meyer had extended that sequence a bit, Twilight might have made a fairly compelling fantasy book. As it stands, the book is readable, but can get a little dull in parts.
The reason Twilight is either the “ZOMG BEST THING EVAAAAAR” or the “WORST PIECE OF GARBAGE EVER WRITTEN” is mostly thanks to the highly devoted fanbase and the equally devoted Hatedom. I sincerely recommend avoiding both. Twilight is a somewhat cliché urban fantasy teen romance. If that’s what you like, go for it. But it certainly won’t go down in history as a classic. People are already starting to forget about it. It’s a book to read, enjoy, and then forget. Simple as that.